New Delhi: The APAI, an air passengers’ body, on Wednesday urged the government to challenge in the apex court the Delhi High Court’s decision to set aside capping of fee for excess checked-in baggage on private airlines.
The Air Passengers Association of India (APAI) also urged the civil aviation ministry to “immediately” call a meeting of all stakeholders on this issue and other related issues, including high ticket cancellation fee being charged by the carriers.
Dealing a blow to the “passenger-centric” measure of the Civil Aviation Ministry, Justice Vibhu Bakhru set aside the DGCA’s June 10, 2016, circular, which allowed private airlines to charge only Rs 100 per extra kg till 20 kg as against their earlier rates, ranging from Rs 220 to Rs 350.
Currently, all domestic carriers allow free checked-in baggage up to 15 kg. Only Air India allows free baggage up to 23 kg.
“This decision (to cap excess baggage charges) was taken by the civil aviation ministry in isolation. It did not consult all the stakeholders before giving a go ahead to the DGCA. The high court’s decision should be challenged in the apex court,” APAI president D Sudhakara Reddy told PTI from Chennai.
The ministry should also look into the high cancellation fee being levied by airlines, Reddy said, adding “it should ensure that the cancellation charges should not go beyond the ticket prices.”
The spokesperson of the Federation of Indian Airlines (FIA), which had challenged the DGCA circular in the Delhi High Court, was not available for comments.
Director General of Civil Aviation B S Bhullar said he will react on the issue only after going through the court’s order.
“(Will comment) only after analysing the Honourable Court’s order, ” Bhullar told PTI.
The circular had come into effect from July 1 last year as the court had not stayed it or deferred the date of implementation on the plea of the FIA.
Four private airlines — Jet Airways, IndiGo, SpiceJet and GoAir — are the members of the FIA.
The court had said that the amounts charged by the airlines would be restored if the FIA succeeded in its plea challenging the circular.
FIA, in its plea through advocate Gaurav Sarin, had said that the DGCA did not have the jurisdiction to fix tariff as this power laid with the airlines and the fares were determined by the market forces.
It had said that the DGCA can interfere only when there are specific instances of discriminatory practices and such circulars cannot be issued in a general manner.
The DGCA in its circular had said that the airlines would be free to charge any fee beyond 20 kgs of excess baggage.